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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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Rapid population growth has economic, social, and political effects. It also interacts with piiblic*^3ucafion, heal thjmJL .welfare^ and the. quality of the ~\^e. As we shall show, many of these conse-
quences are nofwell understood, and their magnitude is uncertain. The significance of others is less than is generally believed. Without at this time assigning quantitative values, we may very briefly list the categories of consequences that are usually recognized. In later sections, these consequences are discussed more fully.
Economic Consequences
Rates of population growth in many less developed countries are at least half the rates of economic growth and in some cases almost equal the latter. Chiefly because of the high fertility of these countries, the ratios of children to adults are very high when compared with these ratios in developed countries, and the numbers of young people reaching the age of labor force participation are rapidly increasing. Both of these factors produce serious economic consequences.
Rapid population growth slows down the growth of per capita incomes in less developed countries and tends to perpetuate inequalities of income distribution. It holds down the level of savings and capital investment in the means of production and thereby limits the rate of growth of gross national product. Food supplies and agricultural production must be greatly increased to meet the needs of rapidly growing populations, and this constrains the allocation of resources to other economic and social sectors. The number of persons entering the labor force grows very rapidly. Because the number of people seeking employment is larger than the number of available jobs, unemployment and underemployment are increasingly serious problems. An ever larger number of workers cannot be absorbed in the modern (industrialized) sector. They are forced into unproductive service occupations or back into the traditional (agricultural) sector with its low productivity and bare subsistence wage levels. Large supplies of cheap labor tend to hold back technological change, and industrialization is slowed by mass poverty, which reduces the demand for manufactured goods. Low savings rates and low labor skill inhibit the full development and utilization of natural resources in some countries, while in others the growing populations outrun the levels at which renewable resources can be sustained, and the resource base deteriorates. Widespread poverty, the low productivity of labor, the growing demands for food, and slow industrialization distort and degrade the international trade of the less de-